Bomb explosion on bus in Philippines kills 1, wounds 32
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A homemade bomb exploding under a bus seat killed an 11-year-old girl and wounded 32 other people Friday in a southern Philippine city where Abu Sayyaf militants operate, police said.
The bomb exploded in the middle of the vehicle as it was loading passengers at a bus terminal near a market, said Zamboanga City police Chief Inspector Joel Tuttuh.
He said the suspects weren’t known but could include the militants, who set off a car bomb in Zamboanga earlier this year near another bus terminal, killing two people and wounding more than 50 others.
Vice Mayor Cesar Itturalde said a closed circuit television camera caught the image of a possible suspect — a man carrying a bag approaching the bus and minutes later leaving the scene with nothing in his hands and running away before the explosion. He said the man wore a hoodie jacket and covered his mouth with a handkerchief.
Tuttuh said at least one of those wounded in Friday’s blast was in serious condition after losing an arm and a leg.
“The (improvised explosive device) could have come from the Abu Sayyaf, disgruntled employees or competitors,” he said by telephone from Zamboanga.
One of the bus owner’s buses in the nearby island province of Basilan also was the target of a bomb attack from extortionists who demanded 500,000 pesos ($10,000) and 20,000 pesos ($428) monthly, Tuttuh said.
Zamboanga police chief Angelito Casimiro told ABS-CBN television the bus management received a text message from the unidentified group which threatened that “something bad” will happen to the company if they do not accede to its demands.
Tuttuh said bomb squads from the police and the military, who were inspecting the site, could not immediately say what type of explosive was used. The militants frequently use unexploded mortar shells as the main charge for their homemade bombs.
The Abu Sayyaf, which was recently declared a terrorist group by a Philippine court and is also on Washington’s lists of terror organizations, has about 400 gunmen under several factions operating in Basilan and nearby areas.
Aside from bombings, the group is also notorious for beheading hostages, ransom kidnappings of Filipinos and foreigners, and extortion.